As the Church enters its third millennium, it must take stock of its identity and mission. These essays in The Gift of the Church address the fundamental issues confronting the Church in its immediate future. Their authors represent the most prominent ecclesiologists of our time.
Written in honor of Patrick Granfield, OSB, these essays form a textbook for classes in ecclesiology. They also are a useful tool for those engaged in various ministries in the Church to update themselves on the theology of different aspects of the Church. The first section of essays discusses ecclesiology in its historical development as well as its methodology; the second examines various aspects of the Church; and the third part presents the life and work of Patrick Granfield. The essays are clearly written and based on solid and extensive scholarship.
Ecclesiology has been the central theme of theological reflections since Vatican II and may continue to be in the next millennium. This textbook fulfills in part Pope John Paul II's vision for the Jubilee Year, when Christians, "with a profound sense of commitment . . . will likewise express their gratitude for the gift of the Church."
Essays and authors in Part One: Ecclesiology in Historical Context are "Theologies of the Church in the New Testament," by Frank J. Matera; "The Development of Ecclesiology: Early Church to the Reformation," by Eric Plumer; "The Development of Ecclesiology: Modernity to the Twentieth Century," by Michael J. Himes; "The Significance of Vatican Council II for Ecclesiology," by Joseph A. Komonchak; "The Ecclesiology of John Paul II," by Avery Dulles; "Ecumenical Ecclesiology," by Michael A. Fahey; and "Theological Method for Ecclesiology," by Pedro Rodríquez. Essays and authors in Part Two: Contemporary Ecclesiology are "The Church as Communion," by Susan K. Wood; "The Church as Worshiping Community," by Gerard Austin; "The Ecclesial Dimension of Anthropology," by Michael J. Scanlon; "The Ecclesial Dimension of Spirituality," by George Tavard; "The Evangelizing Mission of the Church," by Francis A. Sullivan; "Salvation Outside the Church," by John P. Galvin; "The Social Mission of the Church: Its Changing Context," by T. Howland Sanks; "Ministries in the Church," by John Ford; "The Papacy," by Richard P. McBrien; "The Episcopacy," by Hermann J. Pottmeyer; "The Teaching Office of the Church," by John P. Boyle; "The Church and the Law," by Thomas J. Green; "The Laity," by Jon Nilson; "Women and the Church," by Sara Butler; and "Mary and the Church," by Frederick M. Jelly. Essays and authors in Part Three: A North American Ecclesiology: The Theological Achievement of Patrick Granfield are "Patrick Granfield: A Biographical Essay," by David Granfield; "A North American Ecclesiology: The Achievement of Patrick Granfield," by Peter C. Phan; and "Bibliography of Patrick Granfield," compiled by David Granfield. The book also includes an introduction by Peter Phan and a list of abbreviations.
Peter C. Phan, PhD, STD, DD, is the Warren-Blanding Professor of Religion and Culture in the department of religion and religious education at The Catholic University of America. He is the author and editor of several books and over a hundred essays on various aspects of Christian theology.